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Police Raiding Fentanyl Den Hospitalized After Opioid Powder Goes Airborne

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter
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Police conducting a raid on a suspected narcotics factory in a Connecticut apartment complex were exposed to fentanyl Thursday after a suspect tossed the drugs in the air.

An officer with the Hartford Police Department and a state trooper were rushed to a local hospital after falling ill, while five other officers were put under close monitoring following the exposure. Authorities evacuated the entire Garden Street apartment complex after the incident and subsequently declared the building uninhabitable, reports the Hartford Courant.

Officials with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Clandestine Lab were called in to test the powder, confirming the presence of fentanyl. The package of drugs burst apart after a suspect allegedly tried to toss the bag out a window. (RELATED: Suspect Stabs Officer With Heroin Needle While Trying To Flee A Drug Den)

“It’s a substantial danger,” said Hartford Police Chief David Rosado, according to the Harford Courant. “We never really know what we are dealing with. So if it’s fentanyl, obviously it could be very dangerous to our officers. That is why all our officers are being decontaminated by the Hartford Fire Department. This is an everyday occurrence … our officers can be potentially exposed to it. We have to be really careful when we deal with this kind of issue.”

Only 2 milligrams of fentanyl can cause an adult to suffer a fatal overdose. The influx of the synthetic opioid into communities throughout the country is increasingly putting the lives of first responders at risk.

Hartford police arrested 42-year-old Luis Diaz, 38-year-old Raymond Vazquez and 25-year-old Francheska Muniz-Rodriquez during the raid Thursday, seizing a half kilogram of fentanyl, $4,000 in cash and a firearm.

The group faces a litany of charges including operation of a drug factory, possession with intent to sell and risk of injury to a minor.

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